A Florist's Romantic Wedding at Ryland Inn
Amanda Stupak and John Theodoropoulos went to high school together but never actually spoke! That is, until they reconnected at the gym in December 2013 and hit it off nearly nine years later. After dating for another four years, John suggested they take a trip to California to celebrate Valentine's Day. (The bride is a florist at Twisted Willow Flowers and it was the first holiday she was taking off from her shop, so it was an occasion to celebrate on its own.) But John had other plans in mind when we proposed at the La Jolla cove in San Diego on February 11, 2017.
Just over a year later, on March 23, 2018, the couple invited 142 to celebrate with them at Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. "We have worked events there and the staff, service, and food are just incredible," says the florist bride. "We chose the coach house for its eclectic rustic feel!" And, of course, the flowers were important to Amanda and John. "Flowers were super important in the overall vision for the day," she explains. "We really wanted to make it feel like spring with blooms, even though the temperature outside didnâ€™t agree. There was a massive snowstorm two days before the wedding!" But, despite the weather, the bride and groom filled the space with so many bright blooms and warmly-lit candles that it nearly felt like a spring day inside the inn's rustic cottage. So if you're a fan of beautiful florals and unique decor elements, we suggest you keep reading for an insider's take on what a florist created for her own wedding!
Amanda admits that the dress-shopping process didn't take as long as she thought it would. She was searching for a long-sleeved dress but didn't think many salons carried tons of options, so she made made an appointment on a whim to survey what they did have. "My mom and I werenâ€™t expecting to find anything," she recalls. But she quickly found her gown by Alon Livneâ€”so quickly, in fact, that she had to fake a second appointment to include John's mom, who only has boys, in on the fun. "We asked the salon to keep it secret that we had been there before," she says, with a laugh. "We tried on a few dresses, but my mother-in-law had the same reaction as us. It was definitely the one!"
The bride paired her gown with rose-colored velvet heels by Jimmy Choo, which acted as the perfect combo between their warm vibe and winter wedding date.
Amanda admits that it was fun being in her "client's shoes" but says it was a challenge too. "Believe it or not, the flowers were the hardest part of the planning process for me," she says. She wanted to find the perfect combo of blooms (lush and interesting but not wild and unorganized) in the perfect shades (delicate without being too boring or too bold). "I was, for sure, my harshest critic," she says with a laugh. "But it all came together exactly how I had hoped."
Inside the rustic space, the couple filled the ceiling with hanging smilax and lined the floors with a mix of candles in all shapes and sizes. The focal pointâ€”after the room's statement chandelierâ€”was the full arbor of greenery featuring accent blooms in dusty shades of mauve, peach, and pink.
After Amanda entered to Johnnyswim's "Take The World," she and John recited traditional vowsâ€”"We're super shy," she saysâ€”but asked their friend, Michelle, to read a special excerpt from Ecclesiastes 4:12.
The seating chart featured pieces of calligraphed acrylic against a backdrop of more smilax and blooms, which really allowed the bride's handiwork to shine.
The couple's two signature cocktails were named after their dogs, Kobe and Gatsby.
At both dinner and cocktail hour, Amanda and John incorporated his Greek heritage by adding feta cheese and kalamata olives to different dishes and placing an olive branch atop each dinner plate.
Tables were topped with deep slate linens, driftwood chargers, and candles in vintage-inspired vessels. "We also added greenery to the chandeliers and fireplace and emphasized lighting with lots of candlelight and uplighting on the walls," she adds.
The wedding cake was a four-tiered, blue-and-white creation. Inside, it featured three flavors: chocolate with chocolate fudge, vanilla with mango mousse, and red velvet with fresh strawberries and vanilla cream.
At the end of the night, guests went home with pomegranate-shaped dishes with koufetas (candied almonds) inside. "Pomegranate signify good luck," explains the bride.
Looking back, this pro of a bride says she definitely has some advice to pass along. "Make sure you really put you and your significant other first," she says. "Many people will have opinions and suggestions, but itâ€™s impossible to make everyone happy. The day is ultimately celebrating a union between the two of you. And thatâ€™s the most important part."